Friday, April 27, 2007

Lawrence J. Haas's message to Democrats

From The Journal of International Security Afairs.

I think Haase gets it wrong on Bush's failure to meld national and economic security. 911 was an attack on America's economy -it was the World Trade Center they struck at twice- and while bringing the towers down the second try, they economy has rebounded.

Otherwise Haas nails the Democrat's failure they must overcome to survive as a party.
Iraq, in other words, has given the Democrats an opening—but only an opening, not a guarantee of future political success. As the 2008 presidential campaign approaches, Democrats must embrace and successfully navigate the new politics of national security. Gone, for the foreseeable future, are the days when Democrats could win, as they did in 1992, largely by shifting the national conversation to domestic issues on which they held a considerable advantage. Gone are the days when, also as in 1992, the GOP incumbent’s greater comfort with foreign than domestic affairs (as President George H. W. Bush acknowledged about himself) could hurt him.

Today, at a time of terrorist threats and at the early stage of a generational war against militant Islam, Americans view national security in a new light. It is now an unavoidable political hurdle that a presidential candidate must clear. To win in 2008 and beyond, a candidate must convince Americans that he or she will keep them safe. Only then will the public seriously weigh the candidate’s proposals to protect Social Security, expand health care, and improve education.

For Democrats, this is about something more basic than a strategy to confront militant Islam (a complex endeavor that will require an appropriate mix of military power, traditional diplomacy, grassroots outreach, covert operations, and economic and humanitarian assistance). Clearing the national security hurdle is about a change of mind-set, about discarding 30 years of post-Vietnam discomfort with the military, reluctance to use and sustain force, and cynicism about American ideals. It also is about assuming and exuding an eagerness about national security, about welcoming the solemn opportunity to fulfill the President’s most sacred obligation—to keep America safe.

Democrats must seize the opportunity and adopt a mind-set about national security that reflects three basic themes:

a firm belief in the superiority of U.S.-style freedom and democracy over all other alternatives,

a clear-eyed understanding of the dangers that our enemies pose to our safety and well being, and

an eagerness to grab the reins of national security and serve as America’s commander in chief.
Read the whole thing.

via Euston Manifesto Blog

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